Purchase Order (PO) Policy

Summary of Policy

A Purchase Order, or "PO," defines the terms on which goods or services are purchased. This Policy Statement is intended to set out when a PO is required, and when a PO will not be required, in order to complete a purchase of goods or services. Because the PO is intended to evidence the commitment between Dartmouth and a vendor, it is important that where a PO is required, it be issued in advance of delivery of the goods or services purchased. 

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement


For purchases of goods or services where the aggregate annual financial commitment is greater than or equal to $10,000;

When buying "capital equipment" (a piece of equipment with a value in excess of $5,000);

For purchases of goods or services of any value if the goods/services fall within one of the following identified areas of risk:

  • Food providers for College functions (see Exceptions below)
  • Construction - any design or construction work related to College facilities.
  • Travel and Transportation – hiring buses and other group off-campus trips.
  • Information Technology/Financial Services, which typically involve access to personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), financial data or other Dartmouth confidential and/or proprietary information.
  • Environmental Services – radioactive or hazardous waste management.
  • Intellectual Property – any transaction in which the College will receive intellectual property rights (typically copyrights or patents) in the goods or services provided;

If the vendor requires a copy of a PO to complete the transaction;

When purchasing goods bearing Dartmouth word marks or logos (use of licensed supplier required; see www.dartmouth.edu/legal/trademark.html)

Purchase Orders should reference the Dartmouth College Standard Terms and Conditions of Purchase and should be approved by those employees authorized under the Dartmouth College Signature Authority Policy.


Finance Center

Exclusions & Exceptions

In addition to purchases of goods and services with an aggregate annual financial commitment of less than $10,000, a PO IS NOT REQUIRED for the completion of purchases meeting the following requirements:

  • Purchases from food providers who are on the list of Insurance and Food License Compliant Vendors list.
  • If an agreement covering the purchase has been negotiated and approved through Procurement and/or the Office of the General Counsel (such as a Master Goods and/or Services Agreement, an Independent Contractor Service Agreement, or an Equipment Lease Agreement), provided that
    • in the case of an Independent Contractor Service Agreement, the transaction has been approved by Procurement Services for compliance with tax law and
    • in the case of an Equipment Lease Agreement, the transaction has been approved by Procurement Services to ensure appropriate inclusion on the College's equipment inventory.
  • Other exceptions as approved by Procurement Services.

Questions about this policy should be directed to your Finance Center or Procurement Services at Procurement.Services@dartmouth.edu.

Policy ID


Effective Date

September 30, 2018

Last Revised Date

November 23, 2019


Finance & Administration

Office of Primary Responsibility


Office(s) of Secondary Responsibility

Last Reviewed Date

November 23, 2019

Next Review Date